The Wensleydale School plans staff restructure as funding crisis bites

The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form.

The Wensleydale School is planning a restructure of staff which will lead to a “very small number” of compulsory redundancies as the impact of a  school funding crisis is felt in the district.

Head teacher Julia Polley says the restructure is necessary to ensure the school keeps control of its finances in the wake of a funding shortage affecting schools  in North Yorkshire and nationally.

As well as the implications of a pay increase for teachers, an increase in the national wage, pensions payment increases and maintaining a 60-year-old building, the head said the school was set to lose some of its expected budget because North Yorkshire County Council was planning to ease a £5.7m gap in high needs pupil funding by taking money away from mainstream schools budgets.

Mrs Polley said the school was not expecting any additional money to cover these losses and extra expenditure.

Mrs Polley said that current funding levels for schools were “not sustainable”, with education chiefs hoping the Government would address the problem, which has seen 7,000 headteachers across the country sends letter home with pupils warning of a school funding crisis, once Brexit had been resolved.

She added: “In real terms schools just haven’t got enough money to function.

“Ensuring that the education we provide is of excellent quality is our priority, as well as ensuring that the school has a long term sustainable future.”

Mrs Polley said that while some schools were allowing large deficits to build up in the hope more money would be made available at a later date, she was determined to keep her budgets in check.

The head said she was personally scrutinising every payment that was made by the school and a number of contracts for services provided by the county council had been cancelled, with savings made using other suppliers.

Mrs Polley said the compulsory redundancies would affected a “very small number of people” with a consultation with the individuals affected now underway.

A review of the school catering services had also begun.

Mrs Polley said they were looking at “innovative” ways of providing meals to students, however she stressed that a hot food service would continue to be available at the school.

She said that despite the financial challenges faced by the school, the future continued to look bright with the intake of both year seven pupils and the post-16 cohort set to increase in September.

A new Friends of Wensleydale School scheme was also being launched to build stronger links with the local community.